According to Jake Martin, SJ, one of our television critics, Showtime's "The Tudors" has finally hit its stride this season....
More often than not, episodes of “The Tudors” jumped from plot point to plot point with all the subtlety of crashing cymbals. Dialogue was a fusion of a ninth-grade history textbook and a discarded script from an episode of “Dynasty.” It’s an old writing tenet that one should show and not tell the audience about characters, that is, demonstrate through their behavior who they are, as opposed to stating it outright in the piece. The writing on “The Tudors” has missed the mark in this area; for instance, one doubts that Sir Thomas More continually and explicitly labeled himself a humanist in big bold letters in everyday conversation.
However, if the first episode of the fourth season is any indication, “The Tudors” just might have found its way. Freed from the bondage of having to regurgitate the most significant facts of Henry’s reign, the writing seems less cumbersome; the characters now seem to be uttering phrases that actual people might say as opposed to reciting historical exposition.
The fourth season of the series opens in 1540 with Henry struggling to keep up with his child bride Catherine Howard (Tamzin Merchant) while moving into the final years of his historic reign. Intrigue still abounds, but perhaps with the slowing down of the sovereign, Hirst feels less pressure to smash as much information (and gratuitous sex) as possible into one episode. As such, the frantic energy that seemed fundamental to the show in its first three seasons is less evident.